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Exposure to low levels of radon appears to reduce the risk of lung cancer, new study finds
Date:3/25/2008

rs). In that model, the odds ratios of developing cancer rise linearly from one, beginning at a radon level of zero. The model has been used by the EPA to derive its estimate that 21,000 cancer deaths annually can be attributed to radon exposure, and also accounts for the common belief that there is no safe level of radon exposure.

Donald Nelson says the differences in the outcomes of this and previous studies may be attributable to key elements of the new studys design. For example, he noted, care was taken to place radon monitors (for yearlong measurements) in areas of the home where the subjects spent the most wakeful time. Monitors were also place in the subjects present and former bedrooms and on any other home level where they spent as little as one hour per week. The subjects exposures were then obtained by weighting the measurements according to the time typically spent near each detector. The results were further adjusted to account for how subjects home use changed with changing lifestyle (for example, transitioning from full-time employment to retirement). Our analysis shows this to be an important improvement over exposure measures used by almost all other studies, he said.

It is important to note, Nelson added, that these new results do not dispute the lung cancer risk associated with higher levels of radon exposure experienced by uranium miners. Nevertheless, the results represent a dramatic departure from previous results and beliefs. Of course, a single epidemiological study is seldom regarded as definitive, so our results point to the need for new studies using our techniques.

Nelson also noted that the study revealed a dramatic correlation between level of education and lung cancer risk. Subjects who had at least some college education were found to have only 30 percent of the lung cancer risk of those with less than a high school education. While education has been found to be an important correlated variable in many hea
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Contact: Michael Dorsey
mwdorsey@wpi.edu
508-831-5609
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3 4

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